Public hearing and special policyholder meeting dates announced
(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company’s forward-looking plan to become a mutual holding company to modernize its corporate structure while retaining its long-term focus and dedication to its policyholders is coming to fruition.
The plan was unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors and filed with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) earlier this year. It is subject to OCI review and approval, as well as approval of existing policyholders of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.
“When jewelers founded Jewelers Mutual over a century ago, they had the foresight to establish a company designed to hold the jewelry industry’s needs as its top priority and focus,” said Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO. “Today, the needs of our industry are changing, so we must continue to evolve to ensure we can best serve the ongoing needs of our policyholders.
“Modifying our corporate structure will allow us to continually support our customers and strengthen our company as we embrace advanced technologies and related product opportunities to serve our customers better.”
About the transition
A mutual holding company allows a previous mutual insurer to transition into a stock insurance company, wholly-owned by the new mutual holding company, while maintaining critical policyholder rights. This change allows Jewelers Mutual to preserve its core mutuality and membership control while operating under a more flexible structure that better enables it to operate its core business and pursue further opportunities.
“As a mutual company, an essential component to this transition is ensuring that our policyholders maintain their policyholder rights,” Murphy said. “This transition allows us to do so. It also allows us to continue growing our product and service offerings to help support jewelry businesses and the jewelry industry long into the future.”
The mutual holding company transition would not affect any of the company’s current coverages, premium rates, loss prevention, or claims-handling processes. Policyholders will see no change to how their policies are handled. Policyholders become a part of the new mutual holding company with essentially the identical membership rights they have today, including the right to vote for board members at the company’s annual meeting of members.
Murphy noted the change would also allow Jewelers Mutual to extend membership rights, as defined by law, to policyholders of certain current and future subsidiaries of Jewelers Mutual who would not otherwise have these membership rights, all to promote and enhance the longstanding mutual company tradition of Jewelers Mutual.
The mutual holding company would be legally domiciled in Wisconsin, joining Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and its other subsidiaries.
The board of directors and officers of the mutual holding company will remain the same. Jewelers Mutual board members, officers and other employees will not receive additional compensation, or any stock or other benefits, because of this change.
Innovation in support of - and beyond - insurance
Jewelers Mutual staes it is dedicated to its policyholders and the jewelry industry and, as a result, has developed offerings beyond its traditional insurance products. By creating a mutual holding company, Jewelers Mutual will enhance its ability to innovate and bring new value to its customers - and the jewelry industry - with new ventures.
In recent years, Jewelers Mutual has already taken steps to expand its product offerings, including its JM Shipping Solution™ and JM Care Plan™ solutions. The proposed structural change will better enable both existing services and new opportunities within the mutual holding company.
Next steps toward approval of the plan
Under Wisconsin law, the process to become a mutual holding company is subject to a public administrative hearing and prior approval from the insurance commissioner’s office. After these steps, the company will seek approval from eligible policyholders who will vote by proxy that is mailed or e-mailed to them with an information booklet that thoroughly explains the conversion plan. Policyholders can also vote in person at a special policyholder meeting.
Through informational materials Jewelers Mutual is distributing to them, policyholders will soon be made aware of a public hearing at the OCI on Aug. 15, and a special policyholder meeting to be held Sept. 12, at company headquarters, where those present will be able to vote; those unable to vote in person will be encouraged to vote by proxy. The company hopes to complete the process by Jan. 1, 2020.
For more information on the proposed mutual holding company, refer to the FAQs. Jewelers Mutual policyholders can call 888-884-2424 and follow the voice instructions to ask questions or learn more about the Mutual Holding Company plan.
To learn more, visit www.JewelersMutual.com.